Paris. Alain Degout (Alexei Sayle). Image credit: Talkback Productions.


Alain Degout is artist living in 1920s Paris who wants to be famous, but his work gets him nowhere. Starring Alexei Sayle

1994  (Channel 4)
6 (1 series)
Alexei Sayle, Neil Morrissey, Allan Corduner, James Dreyfus, Simon Godley, Beverley Klein, Walter Sparrow
Graham Linehan, Arthur Mathews
Talkback Productions

Paris in the 1920s. Alain Degout is a struggling artist; a rubbish painter of nostalgic fodder (baskets of puppies, wide-eyed orphans, kittens playing with wool), who longs for fame and fortune.

Degout receives limited support from friends including dimwitted fop Paul Rochet, temperamental musician and teacher Minotti, and his tormented pupil, Madame Ovary.

As he strives to have his art appreciated by critics and the public, Degout has numerous challenges to face.

Our Review: Paris is not entirely without merit, but critics loathed the series at broadcast, and the public weren't much more enthusiastic. It's a mix of satire and traditional French farce, with a dab of the now-trademark Linehan/Mathews surrealism.

We'd actually be more inclined to label Paris as one of those shows "ahead of its time" rather than being objectively bad: sure, it has faults, and its quirkiness will never appeal to all, but it boasts a good cast who all put in equally good performances, and there's little in the script to object to. It mightn't have been in line with what 1994 critics expected of a Channel 4 sitcom starring Alexei Sayle, but it's a perfectly acceptable show.

Despite the failure of Paris, it did not stop Linehan and Mathews' sitcom ambitions, with their next project, Father Ted, becoming Channel 4's most popular sitcom.